Running to Win the Race of Life-Times Enterprise-May 5

Secretariat is one of my favorite movies. It’s a story about a horse, an unlikely winner of the prestigious U.S. Triple Crown. In 1973, Secretariat became the first U.S. Triple Crown champion in 25 years. He won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes with record times that still stand today. He was the foal of Bold Ruler, a racing champion and a beautiful mare named Somethingroyal. Secretariat became the prize of a tenacious lady named Penny Chenery via a coin toss. Chenery had lost the coin toss between the two stable owners and had to anxiously await the birth of the unborn foal. She was not disappointed when the bright-red chestnut colt made his appearance. At the 1973 Kentucky Derby, Secretariat broke last but gradually moved up the field in in the last stretch and pulled away to win the Derby by two and a half lengths. No other horse had won the Derby in less than two minutes, but Secretariat did it in 1:59.40minutes. He was an amazing horse! No one expected Secretariat to win. Sportswriter, Mike Sullivan expressed it this way: “I was at Secretariat’s Derby in 1973…That was…just beauty, you know? He started in last place, which he intended to do. I was covering the second place horse which wound up being Sham. It looked like Sham’s race going into the last turn, I think. The thing you have to understand is that Sham was fast, a beautiful horse. He would have had the Triple Crown in another year. And it just didn’t seem like there could be anything faster than that. Everybody was watching him. It was over, more or less. All of the sudden there was this, like just a disruption in the corner of your eye, in your peripheral vision. And then before you could make out what it was, here Secretariat came. And then Secretariat had passed him. No one had ever seen anything like that – a lot of the old guys said the same thing. It was like he was some other animal out there.” I have been accused of seeing the gospel in every story and life event. I guess I am guilty, but God’s love and redemption of mankind is lived out over and over in varying expressions everyday so we can see and understand His great favor in our lives. The gospel, the good news is relevant and alive. It carries the supernatural power to change lives and defeat all odds; if I did not believe this I would not be celebrating twenty years as an ordained minister this year. Secretariat’s victory was accomplished because of the commitment of his owner, Penny Chenery, his trainer, Lucien Laurin and his groom Eddie Sweat. They helped mold and encourage this beautiful horse to win against all odds. In our lives we have to have people who believe in us, encourage us and are willing to disciple us to become all that we can be. Step one to victory for a Christian is always being born again. I often laughingly say, “Getting saved really helps your Christianity”. Trying to be a Christian without having received Christ is a very difficult task, one that always ends in failure. The born again experience gives us a winning blood-line like Bold Ruler and Somethingroyal gave Secretariat. Step two to victory for a Christian is growing up. Secretariat had to develop, train, practice the race and trust his trainers. This always takes longer than we want and requires more of us than we want to give. But if we are steadfast when race time comes we will be ready. There are no “drive through, have it your way” winners. Salvation is a free gift but maturing in Christ takes time and determination Step three to victory for the Christian is overcoming fear. Fear nullifies all training and makes us forget our blood-line. It is the enemy of our faith. It is the reason many Christians watch from the side lines, instead of running the race. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”. Exercise your faith not your fear and you will be victorious. Step four to victory for the Christian is entering the race. You may start out in last place but with the supernatural help of a loving God you will cross the finish line in victory. The apostle Paul expressed it this way, 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT), “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” We all win if we are just willing to run. Secretariat is a beautiful example of destiny. We each have a destiny and a purpose in life. There is a race that is waiting for you. Don’t be caught sitting on the sideline watching others win!

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